As outlined in the guidelines for NCI-designated Cancer Centers by the National Cancer Institute, an NCI designated Cancer Center promotes innovative and interactive research opportunities through the formation of formal scientific research programs and clinical working groups (CWGs), comprised of groups of investigators who share common scientific interests and goals and participate in competitively funded research. Programs and CWGs by their very nature should be highly interactive and lead to the exchange of information, experimental techniques, development and accrual to clinical trials, and ideas that enhance the individual productivity of scientists and often result in collaborations and joint publications. Ultimately, the success of Programs and CWGs is measured by the emergence of productive collaborations. Formal or informal planning meetings, seminars and retreats, developmental funding of selected pilot projects, access to existing shared resources, development of new shared resources and key recruitments are used to promote increasing levels of interaction. The functional and productive Programs and CWGs that characterize successful NCI-designated Cancer Centers are composed of individuals (Members) selected for their scientific excellence and, just as importantly, for their commitment to work together in a scientific community.
Individuals eligible for membership to the University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center (UNMCCC) include UNM faculty associated with the Health Sciences Center or Main Campus Departments and Institutes, faculty from UNMCCC official consortium partner, Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, and affiliate institutions, Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories, and faculty from New Mexico State University.